Malta. Since M. entered the EU in May 2004, more and more
refugees have come to the island, most of them from northern
Africa. According to
countryaah, Malta has Europe's toughest asylum policy, according to
the UNHCR, which in early 2005 criticized the country for
its treatment of asylum seekers. In January, Maltese
soldiers interrupted a peaceful protest among refugees.
According to the UN, the military used unnecessary force and
coercion. The asylum seekers in Malta are held in detention
camps for 18 months, which is contrary to the UN guidelines.
According to the UNHCR, the conditions in the camps are
At the same time, Malta asked the rest of the EU for help in
receiving some of the refugees. From January to November
2005, over 1,500 asylum seekers came to the small country,
which with its 400,000 residents is one of the most densely
populated in the world.
In May, Malta joined Cyprus and Latvia in the exchange rate
cooperation ERM of the euro area countries. Membership in
the ERM for two years is a requirement for countries wishing
to join the euro.
In July, Malta's parliament decided unanimously to say yes to
the EU constitution.